Russia and China move at UN to end violence in Syria


Russia and China on Thursday submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council, seeking to end the violence in Syria, which the UN said has claimed more than 5,000 lives.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who holds the council presidency for the month of December, did not disclose the exact contents of the text but said it will be discussed by the 15 council members in the coming days.

Russia and China in October vetoed a resolution by Germany, France, Portugal and Britain, which sought to condemn Syria’s President Bashir al-Assad for the thousands of deaths of anti-government protestors in his country over the past eight months. Russia and China opposed singling out Damascus for human rights violations.

‘The draft seeks to end the violence in Syria and help that country proceed in the path of political reform,’ Churkin told reporters.

But European diplomats on the council pointed out that the Russian-Chinese draft failed to condemn human rights abuses in Syria. They intend to amend the text to include specific demands on Damascus to end the crisis and implement a plan of action proposed by the Arab League, which includes the deployment of international monitors to protect civilians.

‘We are engaging with the Russian-Chinese draft,’ German Ambassador Peter Wittig told reporters. ‘It is an opportunity to bridge the gaps and break the council’s silence over the situation in Syria.’

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, told the council Monday that a fresh eruption of violence was expected as Damascus plans a harsher crackdown on protesters. She cited news reports of Syrian military preparations to assault the city of Homs.

The death toll in Syria ‘probably exceeded 5,000,’ she said, including 300 children, based on what she called credible sources.

m&c, DPA